By Tom Ninnemann, Cowboy State Daily
Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest active geyser, has gone dormant in the last month after erupting semi-regularly for the past two years.
According to a website tracking each eruption, the last time Steamboat erupted was May 31, when it spewed water into the air for an impressive 10 minutes.
The most recent previous previous eruption had been 26 days prior to that.
Michael Poland, scientist in charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, said the change in the geyser’s activity was expected.
“This is the sort of thing that is expected — Steamboat goes through periods of elevated activity and then returns to periods of less activity, so we knew the current show would eventually end,” he said.
Poland said he is uncertain whether the availability of water is the primary or a secondary reason for the recent lack of eruptions.
“Recent research suggests that Old Faithful even turned off for about 150 years during a period 650-800 years ago when there was a major regional drought,” he said. “So I suspect that might play a role.”
If Streamboat does go to sleep, Poland said it will offer the opportunity to study what goes on in a geyser during its dormant period.